George Harcourt RA was a Scottish portrait and figure painter, known for painting influential members of society. From Dumbarton, Scotland, George Harcourt was born on 11 October 1868 and died on 30 September 1947. He studied at the Herkomer School of Art in Bushey from 1889–92 and later went on to become the head of school. He rose to become the President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1945 following a spell as vice-president (1934–45) and was also the Director of the Royal Academy. He first became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1919 (ARA) and was then elected as an Academician (RA) in 1926. In 1944 he was elected as a senior Academician (Senior RA) and became Director of Schools in 1927. After studying art in Dumbarton, Harcourt initially worked as an interior decorator of salons and luxury cabins at the local shipyard Denny Brothers Shipbuilding. In 1888 he went to Bushey, north London, and enrolled in the Herkomer School of Art. The school, founded by the German-born painter Hubert von Herkomer (1849-1914) in 1883, enjoyed a good reputation in England at the time and was known for its unconventional educational practice. As one of the best students, Harcourt later became a lecturer at the art school. Later, he taught at the London Slade School of Fine Art, where his daughter Anne studied. Over the years, Harcourt's style of painting changed from a Pre-Raphaelite influenced naturalism (here mainly genre paintings, more rarely landscapes) to an almost photorealistic portraiture. This perfection not only gave him a reputation among colleagues, but also secured him a good income as a portraitist of the British upper class. He submitted to the Royal Academy of Arts his diploma thesis (A Portrait of Miss Anne Harcourt), this proved he had skills that went beyond the naive kitsch of his earlier years. In 1893 George Moore reviewed the artworks at the Royal Academy commenting in The New Review, London, on a portrait exhibited there by George Harcourt - At the Window.